Syria: Russian warplane shot down and pilot captured by rebels in Sarqeb, opposition activists say

Syrian opposition activists say rebels have shot down a Russian warplane in the country’s northwest.

fbe2c5a0-1fcf-4958-a07d-7dcda946ce7d

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the warplane was downed on Saturday afternoon near the rebel-held town of Sarqeb, which Syrian troops have been trying to reach under the cover of Russian airstrikes.

A Syrian militant in the area told Associated Press the Russian pilot was shot and killed by rebels when he resisted capture by opening fire from his pistol on the militants who tried to capture him alive.

Moscow has not confirmed the downing of its plane or the killing of a pilot.

The aircraft shot down by rebels, a Sukhoi 25 jet, is used by Russian forces for close air support and airstrikes.

The opposition’s Aleppo Media Centre says it was a Russian-made SU25 but did not say whether it was Russian.

The Syrian government first launched an offensive on northwestern areas of Syria in December, supported by Russian jets.

Rebel groups, including the al-Qaeda-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham are known to be operating in the region.

The Independent